Futility of “Colorblindness” and Fareed Zakaria: In His Program “Why They Hate Us?” Zakaria Defends Muslims at the Expense of Black People; Zakaria, Thus, Is a Dangerous Hypocrite

I distrust percentages stated alone, especially those drawn from the malleable area of statistics, unless those percentages are surrounded by the raw numeric data from which they are derived. The abstract nature of percentages by themselves without solid context leads to problems.

Such problems are magnified when they involve racial issues in the United States. The acceptability of ruining black people for just being black has long been present in the culture of the United States of America. So, the sloppiness of Fareed Zakaria’s reporting in this area cannot be accepted. In defending his Muslim people, he casually and brutally attacked black people, a practice that is well established in the practice of white supremacy.

Only in his case, Zakaria delivered the punch and then cynically tried to apply a soothing balm of explanation that one cannot rabidly hate the entire group of which he accused 50% of the members of being murderers. This is simply beneath dignity, and I cannot accept Zakaria’s work as being valid ever again.

Here is Zakaria’s quotation from his program “Why They Hate Us?”:

But here’s another way to think about this. In America, African-Americans make up about 13% of the population, yet they comprise about 50% of homicide offenders, according to a Justice Department study. Now we understand — I hope we understand — that when we see a black man on the street, we cannot and must not treat him as a likely criminal. It would be dehumanizing, unfair and racist. In America, of all places, people should be treated as individuals and not as stereotypes from a racial, ethnic or religious group. And remember, the Bangladeshi cabdriver who drives you to the airport has nothing, nothing to do with ISIS, even though he is also a Muslim.

 

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

The issue I have is the casual implication that Zakaria presents as fact and then attempts to explain and defend–in so many words, even though I implied that 19 million black people commit murder, you the viewer cannot therefore hate all black people. This quotation is simply sloppy reporting, factually incorrect, cowardly, and categorically unacceptable.

For an example, here are the number for murders in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Murder
Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Victim by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Offender, 2013
[Single victim/single offender]
Race of victim      Total Race of offender Sex of offender Ethnicity of offender1
White Black or

African

American

Other1 Unknown Male Female Unknown Hispanic

or Latino

Not

Hispanic

or Latino

Unknown
White 3,005 2,509 409 49 38 2,661 306 38 532 945 1,528
Black or African American 2,491 189 2,245 20 37 2,217 237 37 76 807 1,608
Other race2 159 32 27 96 4 142 13 4 10 63 86
Unknown race 68 25 17 3 23 38 7 23 3 14 51

The truth is only a minuscule subset of the total black population commit homicide (2,491/38,929,319=0.0001 ). Whites commit homicide also (something that Zakaria does not even state for context–the number is similarly small based on population); moreover, when Dylann Roof killed (note: as of the date of this post, Roof is still awaiting trial) 9 people in Charleston, South Carolina, no one painted the entire white population of the United States as a homicidal, bloodthirsty group of people.

Zakaria’s failure in the midst of defending his own people from broad-brush attacks has not gone unnoticed; I am extremely disappointed in his sloppy work product in failing to carefully craft every element of his reporting. He has recklessly left black people exposed to further unfair discrimination; it is disgustingly unacceptable.

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Barack Obama and Third Way: Nature of Deficit and Debt is Complicated; GOP Stance for No New Taxes Untenable, Unfair

With the collapse of the debt and deficit talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, the focus again is getting the debt limit raised. Although there is a strong attempt to equate debt with deficit, the terms have quite different meanings. Boehner and the GOP are trying to develop a package of cuts without any revenues; chart 22 shows the futility of that move. The middle and lower classes must not be made to lose services to maintain the extravagant lifestyles of the wealthy. On another note, given the makeup of the group called “Third Way,” I am not surprised that their Ivy League educated analysts do not clearly explain the true reality of debt and deficit.

MPR711_F22

On the chart numbered 22 (charts 22 and 24 are from the Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policy Report , the revenues (receipts) and spending (expenditures) are reflected by line graphs. The deficit is the gap between the two lines on the far right. In terms of revenues, the contributions to federal pensions by employees and agency employers are counted as current revenue (and debt) (see CSRDF, 5 U.S.C. section 8348(b)); the same is true for Social Security. The difference between the lines also directly contributes to the debt.

The use of federal pensions and Social Security FICA funds as current income questions the legitimacy of any tax cut pledges by the GOP because monies from other groups are used to give money back to the rich while leaving the government without sufficient revenues to satisfy is obligations to repay its debt (chart 24). Also, because of the composition of the revenues, it is unacceptable for the nonwealthy classes to be hit with the numerous service cuts so that the status of the rich (subsidized by the lower classes) can remain unchanged.

MPR711_F24

Barack Obama and Third Way: Hatred of Federal Civil Service Totally Out of Line; Wall Street that Placed United States in the Financial Crisis Exempt from Scrutiny

A common thread in Third Way publications is that somehow employees of the federal government (also U.S. citizens and taxpayers) should be called to make dramatic sacrifices for symbolic purposes. Yet, the functionaries of Third Way are scions of Wall Street. As the financial sector threw the United States into a recession because of its shady, conflict-of-interest, and casino-like business practices, Third Way does not call for any sacrifices from Wall Street millionaires. Sacrifices are only called for from one group—federal civil service employees (their military service colleagues are exempted from the inane vitriol), a group effectively unable to speak a word in opposition.

Because of this discrepancy, I find Third Way a dishonest and untrustworthy source of advice. Clearly, these opinions sprout from bitter Wall Street types wanting to cast blame for its manifest failures onto innocent people. That President Obama takes advice from this fork-tongued group is galling.

Third Way Publication

Statement Against Federal Employees

The Case for Entitlement Reform “Democrats must couple entitlement reform with a credible set of proposals to demonstrate that government is taking the first and the deeper cut. A place to start is the financing of federal pensions, which is completely out-of-kilter with the way private sector retirement works. Voters need to see Washington give its share.” (Page 7)Comment: My question is what “private sector” is being talked about as the sector is not monolithic (it is made of many separate entities). As a result, the federal pension system cannot be compared to the so-called private sector.

Why is it that “Washington’s sacrifice” only consists of federal civil service employees (who are also citizen-taxpayers, a point often forgotten (even by so-called Third Way democrats)).

Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Retirement Reform Doesn’t this amount [5.2% additional FERS contribution] to a pay cut for federal employees?Yes, it does. Federal employees will have to contribute more to a very generous retirement plan. When fully phased in, it would reduce take home pay by 5.2%. The truth is that for the last 25 years, federal employees have gotten a very good deal. In today’s environment, in which everyone is going to have to give something up, it’s a deal the taxpayer can no longer afford.”

Comments:  This point (and the others in the memo) reflect a pervasive use of the author’s self-interested calculations as fact (see, e.g., memo’s footnote 11).

The Third Way point also is not in line with the history of FERS (federal employees contribute 7%, not just 0.8% for their pensions (6.2% to Social Security and 0.8% to the pension (both components of FERS). “This landmark legislation resulted in large part from the need to shore up Social Security system by broadening its base (by mandating coverage of the federal civilian work force), along with pressure from then-President Ronald Reagan to reduce federal spending.” (See Jamie Cowen, “Twenty-Five Years after Federal Pension Reform,” page 3).

Also, there is a special case made to single out the federal civil service for particular and sole scorn, a practice that is underhanded and unbecoming.

Does the proposal affect veterans and military employees?

No, this proposal covers only those in FERS—federal employees, congressional employees, members of Congress, and judicial branch employees. Military retirees are covered under a separate program administered by the Department of Defense.”

Third Way on “Entitlement Reform”– Assumption that Youth Do Not Care about Social Security, et al. to Trash Those Programs Disgusting, Unacceptable and a Breach of Trust

The Wall Street-backed think tank called Third Way has produced a memorandum (“The Case for Taking Up Entitlement Reform”) urging “entitlement reform”. [The word entitlement suggests welfare, but it does not apply to programs that the taxpayer funds through FICA like Social Security and Medicare (and incredibly federal pensions).] I strenuously disagree with the position of Third Way.

Like true scions of wealth, their position is that borrowing the surplus of the FICA-backed funds is essential to keeping the rich from paying their share of taxes. So rather than paying back what the country has borrowed from the lower classes, the theme is to gut the programs such that they continue to collect money from the working classes but remake the programs so that they do not have to pay out as much to those same contributors.

Third Way uses genteel language, but underlying all of those words is the idea expressed above. As such, Third Way is not a group that should be trusted. Higher-level political leadership is also undeserving of any trust to act properly without citizen intervention.

In the Third Way “entitlement” memo, I found all of the assertions to be disingenuous, but the one stating that young voters do not think Social Security will be there for them one of the worst. The use of youth to justify larcenous acts against FICA-funded programs is immoral and contemptible.

  • People from their first jobs pay FICA taxes.
  • Most people do not earn enough to make a comfortable retirement without Social Security.
  • Only the rich benefit from 401(k) programs.
  • Retirement for the college aged is far away. How Third Way could make such a broad assertion is irresponsible. Who can think about what life will be 40 to 50 years down the road? No one.

Simply because some decrepit polls supposedly opine some supposition does not mean that that assertion means to destroy the FICA-funded programs. Regardless of any polls, federal politicians have a fiduciary responsibility to administer the FICA-funded programs for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Proposing ways to reduce payments to beneficiaries (while collecting the full FICA payment) is unacceptable and a breach of trust.

If the country is declaring default on repaying their FICA debt, then the Congress should repay the working class citizenry in full immediately.

Barack Obama & Third Way: Reports from Deficit and Debt Meeting Heavy on Cuts and Light on Revenues; Negotiators are Mostly Millionaires

It is no wonder that the high-level meeting for deficit & debt discussions will be skewed toward preserving the wealthy. Those who sat in the room have for the most part extraordinarily high net worth. The political structure of the United States is on the verge of obsolescence and great injustice.

The end result of the President’s proposal seems very likely to be horrendous program cuts with cosmetic (little) revenue “increases” offset with tax cuts. So the end result is essentially all spending cuts. The think tank, Third Way, is cheerleading the entire event.

Why is the proposal (to be rushed through Congress) so skewed? It is proposed by millionaires (the participants), who do not wish to pass tax increases on themselves. (How’s that for a conflict of interest?)

Deficit & Debt Meeting Participants

Participant

Net Worth (range, 2009)

Pres. Barack Obama $2,251,011 to $7,670,000
Vice Pres. Joe Biden $-309,971 to $488,996
Speaker John Boehner $1,801,094 to $5,340,000
Rep. Eric Cantor $2,175,157 to $7,533,999
Sen. Harry Reid $3,062,056 to $6,707,000
Sen. Richard Durbin $258,038 to $1,700,998
Sen Mitch McConnell $7,102,036 to $32,756,000
Rep. Nancy Pelosi $-7,356,915 to $124,229,990
Rep. Steny Hoyer $298,009 to $697,000
Jacob Lew n.a.
Sec. of Treasury Timothy Geithner $274,021 to $6,065,998
William Daley (Member of Third Way) $15,000,000 (approx.)
Gene Sperling n.a.

Source:  Center for Responsive Politics, www.opensecrets.org.

Third Way: Think Tank Advocating for Federal Pension Cuts, Adjustments to Social Security Has Deep, Conflicting Ties to Wall Street

It seems that the theme of the day is how to cut programs that will not affect the lifestyles of the wealthy. The United States is not “broke,” the country has a tax system and can collect more revenue.  Despite having extremely costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the search is on for tough cuts on vital services. Two such proposals involve increasing the contributions that only federal employees pay (about 5%), not other pension participants (in particular Members of Congress). The other involves adjustments to Social Security (raising the retirement age, et al., anything except just raising the cap on FICA).

These devastating proposals are coming from a think tank called Third Way. I had never heard of them, but they are having a outsized voice on policy. Indeed, there are former staffers from the Obama Administration and major Democratic party donors in it.  As a result, I decided to find out who is funding such an organization. I discovered with few exceptions that the organization is governed by wealthy scions of Wall Street. [This post does not cover the staff of the group.]

As the reader can imagine, the tough medicine the group is prescribing will not apply to anyone in the Third Way group. I find this reprehensible at best, unacceptable at the worst.

Third Way Board of Trustees

Name

Title

Firm

John Vogelstein Chairman New Providence Asset Management LLC; Lazard Freres & Co.; Warburg Pincus LLC
Bernard Schwartz Chairman-emeritus BLS Investments LLC; Loral Space and Communications Inc.
David Heller Vice Chairman Goldman Sachs
Dwight Anderson Member Ospraie Management L.P.
Georgette Bennett Member Tannenbaum Center of Interreligious Understanding
William Budinger Member Aspen Institute; Rodel Inc.
Jonathan Cowan Member Americans for Gun Safety, et al.
Lewis Culman Member Cullman Ventures Inc.
John Dyson Member Millbrook Capital Management
Robert Dyson Member Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corp.
Brian Frank Member MSD Capital L.P.
Michael B. Goldberg Member Kelso & Company
Peter Joseph Member Palladium
General Claudia Kennedy (retired) Member First Star
Derek Kirkland Member Morgan Stanley
Ronald Klain Member Case Holdings; Staffer with Vice President Joe Biden; Revolution LLC
Reynold Levy Member Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Daniel Loeb Member Third Point LLC
Thurgood Marshall, Jr. Member Bingham McCutchen (lobbyist)
Susan McCue Member Message-Global LLC
Herbert Miler Member The Mills Corporation
Michael Novogratz Member Fortress Investment Group LLC
Andrew Parmentier Member Height Analytics
David Roberts Member Angelo, Gordon & Co.
Howard Rossman Member Mesirow Advanced Strategies Inc; Mesirow Financial Holdings Inc.
Tim Sweeney Member Gill Foundation
Ted Trimpa Member Hogan Lovells LLP
Barbara Manfrey Vogelstein Member Retired from venture capital industry
Joseph Zimlich Member Bohemian Companies

 

Rahm Emanuel: The Persistent Question of Domicile and Residency; How Will It Affect the Chicago Mayoral Election?

The question of the difference between domicile and residency is subject to good debate in law schools. It is present in Rahm Emanuel’s court case involving his qualification to run for the elective office of Mayor of Chicago, Illinois.

Domicile is more of a “mental” concept, while residency requires physical presence. Emanuel argues more domicile concepts (that he always intended to return to Illinois). But the key to the case is where he resided (actual physical presence) last year.

Emanuel is appealing the decision.